Believe In Better

For as defeated and melancholy I was feeling yesterday, I just wanted to be kind to myself and allow myself to “ride it out.” Let the storm pass. Hope for a better tomorrow. Because it does happen!

It did happen. Today is better. Still not 100% and it would take the slightest thing of something to topple me over again. There are things that if I dwell on them will bring me down. Jim. The Minds fandom. The state and future of my blog (the Priptona one). How mentally prepared (or otherwise) I am for the recommencement of uni next month. My partner’s mental health (always a VERY big cloud hanging over things, if I am being incredibly open and frank). Finances (or lack thereof). 

But…I’ve had a shower today and I’ve washed my hair. I know there are many people that won’t get that. People that don’t understand the kind of effort that can take sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I get very angry with myself. A lot of the time, in fact. I was angry with myself yesterday. I wasn’t comfortable with posting what I posted on my blog yesterday. I sounded like I was just wallowing in self-pity. At the same time and as much as I tried to push myself, I tried being kind. Allow myself the time to hope that the bad would pass. 

Some of the feeling also is dictated by having someone else living in my home. A person that makes me feel like a tenant in my own home. I am very mindful of accommodating them and working my day around theirs. They are moving out in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to being “liberated” and being able to return to doing things in my house when I want to. From when I begin my study day to when I go to the toilet in the middle of the night. All of that! All of that has weighed on my mind for 21 months. Silly little accommodations, you know? 

For instance…I’ll settle into bed around 11pm. I’ll listen to The Arches and a couple of podcasts, then be ready to settle to sleep around midnight. My brain and body are ALWAYS insistent that I need one last trip to the loo. But I’ll try not to go. I’ll ignore it. But that invariably means I’ll awake again a couple of hours later with a more urgent need to go, which I’ll also try and ignore. I feel like I am having the most interrupted sleep. These days, once I do get up and go to the loo in the wee hours I find it very hard to get back to sleep. 

I’m just looking forward to getting up and going as and when I need to without having to consider someone else. I’m looking forward to a better sleep pattern once again. Maybe it won’t happen? Maybe I’m in a menopausal phase and that’s what’s disrupting my sleep pattern? I feel as though I will be less stressed anyway and that will help me. 

My study days will begin earlier too. I will most likely begin my days between 9-9.30am, whereas currently I feel compelled to wait until after 10am (when my lodger’s work day begins). I know that doesn’t sound like much – but when you’re a morning thinker and you have ideas and things pop into your head and you want to get going with your day – thoughts pinging in left, right and centre but you feel like it would be rude to just get up and go and start your day, then yes – it makes a BIG difference. 

I tried again with the Too Good To Go app and have a couple of new surprise bags to collect today. My Other Half will collect one (taking advantage of the free “old gits” travel she gets on the bus network) this afternoon and I’ll get the other one early this evening. I was able to secure a collection with the George Street Oaka, which is much more handy and easier to get to. A train to Queen Street, a quarter mile walk up George Street and I’m right there. I can collect and get the next train home. It can all be done within the space of an hour. Hurray! And this time I am prepared. Showered and ready to go in later today.

Finally, I realise that I haven’t even shared much from the time away in Blackpool last week. Although elements of it were stressful, in particular the journey back home to Glasgow, we did have some fun while we were away and really enjoyed aspects of the trip. I’d like to share select photos of the time away. 

Thanks for listening. I know it’s not easy to read bad stuff and I am guilty as anyone else in trying to give off this air that I am fine and dandy all the time and life’s a peach every single day but the cold, hard truth is…it isn’t. It gets the better of me. I can get very low and dark and I have spent a long time trying to shield people from that. 

I have a love/hate relationship with that “it’s okay not to be okay” phraseology, because although it is inherently true…I myself do NOT feel ‘okay’ with not feeling okay – if you get me? 

Having said that – today is better.

And In My Downtime…(Downtime? What downtime?)

I’ve been meaning to catch up with you, but by gawd, I’ve been busy! Jeez-o. I feel like I’ve hardly stopped since uni officially ended on 18 May. 

I went to Pollok Park and the Burrell Collection with my partner the following day (Friday, 19 May). Knackered myself by walking nearly 20,000 steps and just over 13.5km that day. I spent the weekend recovering from that. Then on Monday 22 May, I did a massive spring clean of my bedroom, which took me most of the day – stripping my bed, vacuuming the floor and walls, making the bed back up with fresh bed linen, etc, etc. Knackered myself again. 

On Tuesday (Tuesday week) in the evening I went to the Mitchell Library to attend a creative writing workshop that was being run in partnership with the University of Strathclyde and conducted by one of their CW lecturers. It was titled ‘What You Need to Know about Point of View’. I thought it would be beneficial to me in the hope it would provide me with clear definitions of how point-of-view within a narrative works. It was really good and I am SO glad I went. Even more so for the fact that I didn’t pre-book as I was unsure whether to go or not or whether I should go to one of the other CW workshops that was happening later in the week. I read in the Aye Write brochure that you could buy a ticket from the Mitchell Library on the day, so I decided to just turn up and buy a ticket then. What will be, will be kind of thing. Long story short, they couldn’t work out how to issue me with a ticket without a lot of faffing about, so they decided that because they hadn’t made the process very straight forward at all, to let me attend the workshop for free. Yes! Part of my ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ dithering was about whether I could afford to go or not, so I was quite pleased to end up being allowed to attend for free. And it was really very good and cleared up some things about point-of-view that just weren’t sticking in my brain.

On Wednesday, a voluntary work colleague of my partner’s gave us tickets to see him perform as an extra in the Theatre Royal production of An Inspector Calls. It was a great show and we really enjoyed ourselves. 

Thursday I did some writing and caught up with laundry. Friday it was the Sparks gig at the Armadillo. Sunday I caught up with a friend that was on holiday in Scotland from the U.S. We met up at the Barras market and wandered around there for a while. Visited the Blitzkrieg Shop, Glickman’s and then had lunch at Mono before perusing Missing Records. It was a full day and I had walked another 10km. 

Monday, I went to see The Lemon Twigs at SWG3. Then yesterday I went and got my haircut. So, today feels like PROPERLY the first day I’ve had to just take a chill pill and rest up a bit – and do a post here. 

Even just going over what I’ve been doing for the past (almost) two weeks is exhausting me! Lol. Lots of sight-seeing, writing, theatre, gigs – LOADS of walking and some dancing too. It has felt absolutely non-stop. I’m giving myself a quiet one today though. 

The weather has been AMAZING! So warm and dry. Yesterday it was 25 degrees in Glasgow! It’s not quite as warm and sunny today but it’s still into the 20s and ahm still roastin’! 

I’ll probably get out and go for a wander tomorrow, just so the old bones and legs don’t clam up on me completely. I don’t have anything pre-planned until Hamish Hawk on 9 June (then Ian Moss the next night) but I want to keep active and make sure I do some things and make good use of the fabulous weather. But today I definitely need to allow myself to just chill and relax. 

This has been the main reason for the radio silence since the break-up of uni is just…I’ve been as busy since the end of uni as I am during it! I mean, it’s great. I’m glad I have so much to do. I’m looking into being able to do some other things while on summer break. I’ve been looking into taking a trip on the Waverley ‘doon the watter’ sometime in the summer. One trip takes you all the way out for a circuit around Ailsa Craig which would be AMAZING! I’d love to do that! I’ve spoken to my partner about it, but the decision is hers. We’ll see. It won’t be until August but we’ll need to book early to secure a place.

We’ll have another night away in Newcastle in around five weeks time so that’ll be fun. Other than the odd gig here and there, my calendar is now pretty free. I’ll still keep creating and writing during the summer, that’s for sure. 

Anything of worth that I write, I’ll share here. I just wanted to check-in for now and show off my new locks. I tried a new salon yesterday. They’re just five minutes away around the corner but I had been scared to try them until now. The lady who cut my hair did a grand job and I’ve already booked to have a trim in the second week of July.

One thing I’d like to do within the next week is go to the Kelvingrove and see the Mary Quant exhibition. Possibly over the weekend. If not then early next week. We’ll see…

P.S. You can read gig reviews at the Priptona Weird blog.

Yes, I am in my JimJams. Lol

A Happening At Hartlepool

I had a night away in Hartlepool to see my other favourite band in the entire universe, Warm Digits. They were playing at an event called Lost In The Woods and they were the headline act. You can read all about it on the Minds blog at Priptona Weird. The following day I had a few hours available to explore Hartlepool before getting a train back to Newcastle for my onward journey back to Glasgow.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my time. I was worried that I’d be suffering too much from all the standing about and dancing about at the gig the night before. It was dependent upon a) How well I pulled up from said gig, and b) Location and price of any attractions I might have been interested in exploring. The weather was also another aspect to consider. On the days leading up, it wasn’t promising of being that good and it seemed as if quite a bit of rain would be about. 

I didn’t feel that great on my feet the morning after the gig, but a shower helped to limber me up a bit and the forecast for the weather had taken a turn for the better and it looked as if it would be remaining dry for the remainder of my stay in Hartlepool. I thought I might as well make the most of it and headed to the marina. 

On the way down, I was approaching The National Royal Navy Museum and decided to go in and have a look, see how much it would cost to go in and explore. An adult ticket is £10 and it lasts for 12 months. That is exceptional value for money. With enough spare money on me to do it, I decided to head on into the museum and explore. 

There is quite a bit to see in there. There’s a huge naval vessel called the Trincomalee, and there are displays around the marina – old style shop fronts with full sized figures inside portraying workers, business owners and householders. There were various kids play areas, both indoors and outdoors and there was also a tearoom/cafe there as well. I wiled away some time exploring the shops and having a coffee and a piece of cake in the tearoom. Considering it was the day of the coronation, I decided on a slice of Victoria sponge. You could serve your own slice and the plates provided had little Union Flag napkins on them. The slice had a little toothpick in it with a little Union Flag on it. I brought it home as a souvenir. Lol

I also spent time exploring the Trincomalee. The ship is HUGE. There must be about 24 canons on the ship. I explored the upper deck and three lower decks. All I kept thinking was geez – you neither wanted to be tall or suffer from claustrophobia being a naval officer! Not to mention REALLY needing good sea legs. Talk about cramped. One can only imagine it teeming with hundreds of officers throughout the ship, sloshing about in the ocean out in the middle of nowhere. That kind of life was for the hardy!

Hartlepool museum is extended through the side area of where the entrance is and there were some good displays there as well. I particularly enjoyed learning about the “monkey-hangers” – something that Andy from Warm Digits had mentioned while we were walking about the town centre the afternoon previous. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French ship was sunk off the coast of Hartlepool. One survivor was found washed ashore – a “little hairy man” (aka a monkey) that the locals were convinced was a French spy, so the locals had the poor wee monkey hanged. There was a song about it that you could listen to by pressing a button on the wall. I recorded most of it. You can hear it below. 

I really enjoyed my exploration around the National Royal Navy Museum at Hartlepool. If you ever find yourself in Hartlepool, I do recommend that you take the time to visit the museum, especially if you have kids. 

Plenty of photos to view and look at below. Click on the images for better viewing options.

Before heading back to Hartlepool train station, I stopped and had McDonalds for lunch. That’s another handy point for visiting the museum – the McDonalds is just across the road from the museum’s entrance. And yes, I have not partaken in a McDonalds for many a year but upon a recent trip to Milngavie, I tried their McPlant burger and I have to say it is REALLY good! I had the McPlant Double on Saturday and that’s a 10/10 for me! I know! Who’d have thought I’d be recommending McDonalds! But honestly, the McPlant is a great burger!

I’d be happy to return to Hartlepool in the near future. I had a really lovely time there. Thanks for the fun, Hartlepool! Hope to see you again one day.

The Creative Spark

Well, what can I say? 

I am really enjoying learning about the Creative Writing process. I came to it quite apprehensive that I would just be in a constant state of writer’s block as I never felt able to express myself very well as a child when in school and we were given storytelling exercises to do. I was just utterly crap! No imagination whatsoever – or that’s how it felt to me. Other pupils could seemingly write fantastical stories that were exciting and vivid and mine just sounded flat and boring and really uninspired. 

I don’t know what has drawn me to want to do this in all honesty. Well, I do, actually. It stems from wanting to be able to write better. To express myself in a really thoughtful and compelling way. And as much as I can try and continue to be self-taught with that kind of stuff, I felt that Creative Writing may just induce new ways, better ways for my creativity to come out. And it already has started to do that so much!

We started with freewriting – which is basically what we were asked to do at school and I was utterly hopeless at it and so I have never really employed that in my writing – at least, I didn;t think I was. Freewriting is basically a stream of consciousness writing that you do for a set period of time. A short block of time, say 15 minutes to half an hour, and you just let the words flow from you. Whatever comes to mind, whether it makes any sense or not. You just write it all out, chuck it all in. All of it! No editing. No strict sentence structures or anything like that. Just write whatever. 

At this point in time I have found that very liberating and incredibly helpful in sparking my creativity. I have written out so much over the week, it’s been crazy. I’ve probably written out something like 6000 words in little scenes, sensory observations, place setting images, story arcs, deciphering story arcs from novels and short story beginnings and endings that we’ve been given to read…all kinds of things.

The other main element of the study so far that I have found incredibly helpful has been the five-act structure. Setting out a story in five acts, setting out your beginning, middle and end, using various plot prompts to build the process of the story and to flesh it out. I have had sssooooo many ideas for novels that have come to me over the years and have not had any real idea on how to go about doing anything with these ideas and how to build up a story from the little snippets of ideas that I have had swirling around in my brain, but now I am learning how I can implement these little snippets into things. They might not become a whole novel within themselves. They could just end up being a scene but at least I am starting to learn what I can do.

I have true epiphanies taking place with my writing creativity over the past week and I feel incredibly enthused by the whole learning process that Creative Writing is offering me.

A page from my writer’s journal.

And, of course, at the back of my mind is always Jim. I know! But, I can’t disguise the fact of how much he has been a spark in my creativity. For want of better terminology, he has been a muse to me. The art that came from me visually, and what comes through in my writing and how I want to express myself – so much of that has really come out and flowed over the past eight years and there’s no escaping the fact that a lot of that has been down to my being a Simple Minds fan and being influenced by Jim’s songwriting and (as of then) daily musings on Facebook. 

I’d love to ask him questions about his songwriting. I’d love to ask him how he handled letting his words be seen. We are encouraged to share our writing from the very early stages. We’re encouraged to get feedback from fellow students and other tutors beyond our own. We’ve been hearing from writer’s during this block of study and most of them admit to initially taking feedback really badly. Now, you guys (those of you who know me well) know how BADLY I take criticism – it can have a very negative effect on me. I am worried that it could have so much of a negative effect on me that I could end up withdrawing from the course or changing my direction of study. I have to keep telling myself that this criticism will be constructive and WILL help me to improve. I have to grow that thicker skin! I’m gonna need it to get better. 

Songwriting seems like such a different beast. It was for Jim. He seemed to tackle the writing process in a similar way to how every other writer starts – just taking down and keeping notes – freewriting – writing down whatever comes to mind, or interesting things heard or seen, language – curious syntax, things like that – but he kept it all very private. So…how did he know any of it was any good? How did he know when the words to the song were right and at what point did he actually feel comfortable in sharing his words? Did he ever TRULY feel comfortable? I’d love to ask him those kind of things. But…I accept that I am pissing in the wind and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. I will come across many other writers that will impart their wisdom on me and Jim can continue to be Jim.

The thing that has excited me most is that I feel that I maybe could be good at this fictional writing lark after all these years of convincing myself that I’m pants at it and everyone has written every story there is and there is nothing new to be said. In some ways that may be so (ie: every story has already been told), but there are your own unique experiences and impressions and expressions that would make it YOUR version of it, and that in itself would make it unique. 

I actually have the framework for a novel that I would really, really love to try and work on. I can’t actually believe I am saying that! After all these years of beginnings flowing through my mind and me not having any tangible way to grasp on them and trying to do something with them. Not knowing what to do with them so just letting them float on by – I have my beginning, middle and end! Loosely speaking. It would take a lot of building. I literally have just a pile of bricks in front of me. Enough to make a house – but I have to build the house now. It could be a long build! I have to keep studying construction whilst I start trying to build my house. I may have to knock it down midway through. I may have to knock it down and start rebuilding several times over. In fact, I know I WILL have to do that. But instead of being disheartened by that thought – I am excited and inspired by it!

A Day In The Life – A day From My Learning Journal – 10 February 2023

All this life lark is a learning curve… so, I have decided to share today’s entry of my learning journal with you. I have been keeping a learning journal since early August last year. We had been advised to keep one from the start of our studies but I just took notes and other such study-based records and not a learning journal. Now I record how my day has gone with study almost every day (I might accidentally miss the odd day, but it doesn’t happen very often now).

Has my hand-writing improved with all this note-taking?! Has it heck! Lol. Well, maybe a tiny bit. I still make loads of mistakes, as you can see by the scribbly bits. Constant miscommunications between my brain and hand which frustrates me no end – but what’s a person to do! Anyway, have fun deciphering my writing! Lol

It’s Fri-yay!

Seasonal ‘No Mans Land” – Yet Study Waits For No Man

You know that period I mean? The time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when you’re not sure what day it is and time seems to both crawl and travel at the speed of light at the same time. There’s so much food in the house that you feel obliged to eat it and feel like a permanent beached whale. That.

Well…today is Kerrsday (aka Thursday for the non-Jim Kerr obsessives – you lucky bunch!) – 29 Dec. It’s the penultimate day of my Christmas break from uni study. And although I’ve not been looking at any of the course work since I handed in my assignment, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been studying! Oh, no.

For the past few days I have been tackling Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, as both it and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre are literary pieces we need to read for the English Literature block of study we have coming up.

I’d read the 80 page introduction to the play and are now starting to read the play itself. I’ve just read Act I and about to start Act II. I’m reading through without the notation and will then read it again with the notation. I was apprehensive to start it but it feels okay at the moment. I feel as though I actually have a handle on what’s going on even if the ‘olde English’ phraseology is a tad intimidating to get to grips with.

Anyway, I best crack on!

Happy New Year!

Necklace Gold Dream

I went out for a Christmas meal last night at the stellar Non Viet Vietnamese restaurant located at the section of Sauchiehall Street near the M8. Great food was had with Birdy and Michelle as fellow dinner guests.

Michelle gave me the most wonderful gift – pictured below. I was knocked for six by it. Such a lovely thought out present.

First 79, Now 80!

I received my mark for my assignment this afternoon. I honestly was not expecting it until the New Year. I always feel ssoooo nervous when the email notification comes in letting me know that my mark is ready for collection.

I can see the mark before I actually collect my tutor’s assessment and feedback. Again, as I arrived to the page to collect, I see a score of 80 and I’m just bloody stunned!

I can’t really go into any more detail than that. I have to be careful with what I discuss. Once again I am incredibly happy with my mark and fully understand and realise why I was deducted marks – or not scored as highly – for certain things I didn’t do right or shouldn’t have done.

Overall my result is really good and I got very positive feedback.

The tough stuff is to come next year. Tough in that these are the subjects I am doing my diploma for – English Literature and Creative Writing. I have William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to tackle next with 600 word essays to write on each one of them.

In the meantime, there is some stuff happening with the house that’s going pretty crappy. When one part of your life seems to be going okay, other areas will be crap. It’s always the way!

I must apologise for the disruption to the blog today. I was sorting out my domain linking and changing over the blog’s theme to something I liked more. I hope you like it too.

Lastly, here’s another bit of Kerr Christmas fun. Yes…Jim will feature here now and again…he’s unavoidable. I’m more comfortable with him featuring here than my personal stuff and uni stuff featuring on the Simple Minds/Music blog.

The Relief Of Making It Over The Finishing Line In Time

That’s another assignment completed! Two assignments completed by Christmas! That’s pretty good going. I’m not sure when we’ll get our marks back, but I guess it won’t be until the New Year – probably the middle of January. Maybe at the end of the first week of Jan if we’re lucky. Either way, I won’t be stressing about how well I did. I’ll just relax and enjoy Christmas and think about the next phase of the module to come. It’s all down to the nitty gritty next because we’ll be tackling the English Literature and Creative Writing topics in the New Year and into the spring. I’m feeling quite a bit nervous about it. Will I really be any good at this? Who knows. In the meantime – IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!

Yes, one fell off the wall and I’ve yet to get the frame sorted out and replaced. And the is paint peeling off the wall. Such a great look! Lol

One thing I will say is that for one part of my assignment we were asked to write a short piece about a portrait that we’d recently come across. With the image above in mind – just one of my bedroom walls adorned with an endless array of Kerr portrait photographs, I seriously contemplated doing this short piece about one of my photos of Jim but I became waaaaay too worried about how that might reflect on me to the other students and decided to make a different choice. All for the better, I think! Which one of the Jims would I have chosen? Well, to have made myself a little less like a woman of 52 acting like a girl of 12, I probably would have gone for one of the photos of him on the stage performing. Our task for this part of the assignment was to write about what we thought the portrait’s purpose was. I’d have had a better justification of explaining the purpose of a photo of Jim on a stage than I would have of one of the promo photos of him.

It’s all irrelevant now anyway but, yeah…talk about spoiled for choice had I gone with my initial idea of choosing a photo of His Kerrness to go on about. Lol

I’ll take a final look over the assignment tomorrow, make sure it’s all reading right, the word count is correct, references are correct and…in she goes! And then the next assignment is just under a whole two months away. Phew!

And When I’m Not Studying….

For uni. I’m studying this fine creature…

Sigh. (This one fell under the “where do I stick it?” dilemma. It was too much fun to just keep it on the SM blog, hence it ended up here as well. Jim Kerr under my tree? Yes, please! And thank you very much!*)

*not gonna happen in a month of Sundays… or Kerrsdays.